The Beginner Bodyweight Workout: 20-Minute Routine To Do At Home or Anywhere!

A Lego Yoda

So you want to start exercising and get in shape, but don’t want to leave your house?

Well, as your fitness Yoda, I’m going to share with you a great bodyweight workout routine that you can do ANYWHERE: In your living room, at a park, or in a galaxy far, far away… 

These are the types of workouts we build for our busy Online Coaching Clients, and I’m pumped to share them with you today! 

Let’s dig into the different parts of this workout and get to the action:

Make sure you also download the Beginner Bodyweight Workout PDF so you can track your progress and level up at home.

I’ll send it on over when you join the Nerd Fitness Rebellion in the box below:

Let’s jump right in!

Can You Build Muscle Mass With Bodyweight Exercises?

This runner definitely has a strong core!

You want to know:

Can you build muscle mass with bodyweight exercises?

Yes! Bodyweight exercises can build muscle mass, as long as you do what’s called “progressive overload.” This means consistently pushing your muscles to get stronger by:

  • Increasing reps.
  • Decreasing your rest periods.
  • Performing more difficult variations of exercises.
  • Increasing your time under tension (by going slower).

Just ask our friend Jimmy here, who got in great shape using bodyweight exercises in his apartment:

Jimmy before and after he did bodyweight training

You just need to make sure you have the right program to follow.

And if you’re getting started, the Beginner Bodyweight Workout is a great place to begin.

Let’s go through a basic home workout today that can be completed anywhere: in your house, out at a park, in your basement, in a box, with a fox, on the moon, wherever!

Beginner Body Weight Workout Videos & exercises

This is the Beginner Bodyweight Workout (3 Circuits): 

  • 20 Bodyweight squats.
  • 10 Push-ups.
  • 10 Walking lunges (each leg).
  • 10 Dumbbell rows (use a milk jug or other weight).
  • 15 Second Plank.
  • 30 Jumping jacks

We turned this bodyweight workout into a fun infographic because that’s how we roll around here:

An infographic of the Beginner Bodyweight Workout

Jump to the “Best Bodyweight Exercises” section for a full breakdown of each movement.

In a circuit routine, you’ll do each exercise in succession without a break in between (if you’re able).

  • Once you’ve finished all exercises in the circuit, do it again.
  • If you’re still able after the 2nd run-through, go for a third.

Because all of these exercises come one after another, you’re bound to get tired – and that’s okay!

It’s better to stop and take a break than to do an exercise incorrectly.

Should I Warm Up Before The Workout?

Before you start, it can be helpful to do a Dynamic Warm-Up – “warming up” simply means preparing your muscles to move, and getting your heart rate elevated.

This doesn’t need to be overly complicated!

A couple of minutes jogging, marching in place, jumping rope, pedaling on a stationary bike, punching and kicking, going for a brisk walk, and/or twisting and swinging your arms and legs to get them moving!

You could also do an easier variation of each exercise in your workout for one round, slow and controlled, to prep your body for the harder workout to come.

For example, if you’re doing knee push-ups in your workout, you could do a warm-up round by utilizing chest-high elevated push-ups to warm up all the muscles and joints involved in that movement.

Here’s a warm-up you can try:

After you’ve completed your workout at home, feel free to cool down and stretch

How Often Should I Do the Beginner Bodyweight Workout?

Do this routine 2-4 times a week, while taking 48 hours off between workouts.

You don’t build muscle when you’re exercising, you build muscle when you’re resting, so try not to do a strength training routine (of the same muscle groups) two days in a row.

I like to follow a training pattern of:

  • Strength training on one day (like this workout).
  • Going for a walk, hike, doing yoga the next day.
  • Back to strength training.
  • Back to interval training or rest!

Alternatively, you can pick one of these fun exercises to do on your off days instead!

Okay, let’s talk a bit more in depth about each of the exercises in this workout!

The 17 Best Bodyweight Exercises For Beginners

Another angle of showing how to setup a proper push-up.

As laid out above in our Beginner Bodyweight Workout video, there are some key movements you can work on to help you get started strength training

Here’s how to do every bodyweight exercise covered today, as well as alternatives for each. Pick the right level for you!



Do elevated push-ups to work up to regular push-ups


Knee push-ups like this are a great way to progress to a regular push-up!


This gif shows Staci doing a push-up in perfect form.
We have a whole article on how to do a proper push-up, but we also cover it extensively in this 5-minute video:


Doing assisted bodyweight squats is a great step towards regular bodyweight squats


Do a proper bodyweight squat to work out your legs
If you want even more instruction, here’s how to do a proper bodyweight squat:


Great if lunges bother your knees.


Do the assisted lunge until you can do regular lunges



Do Lunges to strengthen your legs for the beginner bodyweight exercises!

Here’s how to properly perform lunges


Do a dumbbell row as a great beginner exercise to get strong

Use a milk jug, suitcase, or actual dumbbell.


A useful variation if you don’t have anything laying around to use for rows. Do the pictured movement, but using a doorframe instead! (Make sure you don’t pinch your fingers.)


#14) PLANK

Coach Staci showing you the front plant


Doing a plank on your side is a great way to progressive this bodyweight movement.


Do walking jacks if you can't do jumping jacks!

Use this variation if you too much impact bothers your knees.


Jumping Jacks are a great cardiovascular bodyweight exercise

If you are looking for even MORE bodyweight exercises you can use in your workouts, make sure to check out our mega-resource:

 “The 42 Best Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere.

Is Bodyweight Training Effective for Weight Loss?

Lego Red Suit Brick Guy minifigure on gray baseplate background.

The question of the day is:

Is bodyweight training effective for weight loss?

Possibly! Bodyweight training can be great for fat loss, as long as you have your nutrition dialed in.

If you don’t…then no, it won’t be your magic bullet.

That’s because a good workout and the wrong dietary strategy won’t help you lose weight

This means if you don’t ALSO fix your relationship with food, then all the exercise you do won’t help you get in shape.

It’ll just make you frustrated…

So if you are trying to lose weight, then you need to fix your nutrition first and foremost. If you do strength training while eating in a caloric deficit, you retain the muscle you have while burning the fat on top of those muscles…creating the “toned” or muscular look many are after.

Remember, when it comes to fitness, eating for your goals is key!

You have two options here to dial in your nutrition:

#1) Track your food by counting calories – you can calculate your daily caloric needs here.

#2) Look into proper portion sizes, like with our balanced plate strategy:

A plate that that contains a portion of protein, healthy carb, veggies/fruit, and unsweetened drink.

We’ve actually developed our own 10-level nutrition system and mindset blueprint in Nerd Fitness Prime, but let me break this down into some basics:

  • Slow down and eat mindfully whenever possible
  • Be aware of liquid calories, and minimize if you are struggling to cut calories elsewhere.
  • Put vegetables and fruit on your plate!
  • Know your fats and carbs – these are the foods we can overeat without realizing it.
  • Make sure you get enough protein each day (meat, chicken, fish) – this helps with rebuilding muscles and things like that.

The raw honest truth: how you eat will be responsible for at least 80% of your success or failure.

If you’re doing bodyweight workouts because you’re interested in losing weight, know that training is only 10-20% of the puzzle!

After the Beginner Bodyweight Workout: Next Steps!

A yoga mat for beginner bodyweight training

Do this Beginner Bodyweight Workout for the next 4-6 weeks and focus on getting better.

If doing just one circuit of the workout was really challenging, no big deal!

Write down how you did, and try to do just 1 more rep or exercise next time through.

The whole point is “do a bit more than last time.”

As a reminder, you can grab our beginner bodyweight tracking sheet, which includes a brand-new variation perfect for people who need to prioritize low-impact movements to start.

I’d love to hear how this workout went for you and how else we can help!

If you’re looking for more workout routines to follow, I got you covered:

This is what we’ve dedicated our lives to, and you’re now part of a killer community.

Welcome to the Nerd Fitness Rebellion!

You can do this, we got your back!



PHOTO SOURCES: Four Bricks Tall: “Follow or follow not. There is no follow for follow.” and “Morning run with the Fitbit“, Ekaterina Minaeva ©, parilovv ©

INFOGRAPHIC SOURCES: superhero costume, male graphic, female graphic, various graphics, icon, milk jug, robot, comic background.

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